To build a new diesel engine plant and to upgrade an existing assembly plant in Thailand, General Motors will invest $445 million,chief executive Rick Wagoner said August 13.
The new plant in the industrial coastal town of Rayong will start production in 2010, with a capacity to produce more than 100,000 engines per year. The facility will also employ about 340 workers.
About 90% of the engines will be used in GM's nearby assembly plant, which will be upgraded to produce the new model Chevrolet Colorado small pickup truck, Wagoner said. The investment was part of GM's global strategy, which includes growth in emerging markets like Thailand.
Thailand is the world's leading producer of one-ton pickups. The kingdom has positioned itself as a key regional production base for foreign automakers, which make vehicles here for export around the region.
GM has a relatively small market share in countries like Thailand, where Japanese automakers dominate, but its overall Asian sales have been posting strong growth -- while domestic sales in the U.S. are plunging.
The company's Asia-Pacific president Nick Reilly said that sales in China were expected to rise to $1.2 million this year, up from $1 million last year.
GM is also set to open a new Indian assembly plant outside Mumbai next month.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008